Fabrication flight handles intricate things

The 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron Fabrication Flight handles precise structural repair and inspection for aircraft and support equipment.

“For all the F-16s and F-35s at Luke, we provide the back shop fabrication, inspection and repair for both scheduled and unscheduled maintenance on and off the flightline,” said Senior Master Sgt. Brian Leonard, 56th EMS low observable superintendent. “We perform nondestructive inspection, structural and composite repair, and corrosion control and prevention which covers both removal and application of organic coatings to aircraft and component parts.”

Senior Airman Joshua Rose, 56th EMS low observable aircraft structural maintenance journeyman, inspects a dispatch box. Dispatch boxes are inspected prior to signing them out for use and upon return to track equipment and ensure cleanliness.

Airmen in the fabrication flight handle repairs and inspections on fighter squadron jets the aircraft maintenance units don’t normally do themselves.

“We have some form of interaction with all aircraft on base,” Leonard said. “To distinguish us from the other maintenance units on base, the AMUs are responsible for daily maintenance, parts replacement and servicing to make the aircraft ready to fly. They are responsible for a smaller number of aircraft while we provide support for all aircraft at Luke. While there are multiple AMUs that do maintenance themselves, there is only one fabrication flight on base that supports all aircraft.”

Senior Airman Cody Reynolds, 56th EMS nondestructive inspection apprentice, inspects an A-frame from an F-16 Fighting Falcon under a black light. The A-frames are put through wet fluorescents and dipped inside penetrants prior to black light viewing. The penetrants cause a capillary action when there are cracks present in parts that become visible under the black light.

Of the four sections in fabrication flight, nondestructive inspection supports the rest of the sections by detecting damages in aircraft parts. They also respond to the flightline to test aircraft for structural integrity. The metals technology, structural maintenance and low observable sections are primarily focused on manufacture and repair of aircraft and equipment.

Airman 1st Class Adriana Van Wyk, 56th EMS nondestructive inspection technician, performs an eddy current test on an F-16. The test checks for problems that may compromise the aircraft’s structural integrity.

“We perform repairs and inspections, check structural integrity and fabricate parts,” said Tech. Sgt. Duane Coley, 56th EMS production supervisor. “We create critical parts for aircraft and do repairs and jobs that help save man hours, thus creating more time for air availability of aircraft. We save time and money by doing repairs locally instead of having to send aircraft or parts out or hiring a civilian contractor. Everything we do in the fabrication flight keeps aircraft flying at Luke.”

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